More COVID-19 beds available in Visayas
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Hospitals in this city and the rest of Central Visayas can now breathe easier two months after they complained of congestion amid the rising number of patients afflicted with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, spokesperson for the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas, said the critical care utilization rate in the region had improved after medical facilities decided to increase their bed capacities for COVID-19 patients.Protocol compliance
From as high as 89 percent in mid-June and 72 percent on July 15, the critical care utilization in private and public hospitals went down between 49 and 52 percent on Aug. 2.
“What we have right now are at manageable levels,” she said.She attributed the development to the decision of local governments to transfer COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms from hospitals to quarantine centers, as well as the strict implementation of and compliance with health protocols to slow down the spread of the virus.Loreche said she hoped the good practices in the region, particularly in Cebu City, would be replicated in Metro Manila where doctors, nurses and other health-care workers recently cried for help amid an overwhelmed health system.
“At the very beginning, yes (our health-care workers, especially in Cebu City, wanted a timeout), but right now, they are being taken care of by various sectors that are helping us out,” she said.Since the start of the pandemic, Loreche said 400 medical front-liners in Central Visayas had been afflicted with COVID-19. The number represented around 5 percent of the region’s medical professionals who were at the front lines in fighting the disease.
“Of this number, some have already recovered,” Loreche said. “Since we are only one country, we pray that they (Metro Manila) may also be able to find a solution, and perhaps they can learn some things from us to address the problem.”On June 16, President Duterte placed Cebu City under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as its problem to provide critical health-care assistance to patients.
He appointed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to oversee the national government’s response to contain the spread of the virus on Cebu Island.
It took a month before the city’s status was downgraded to a slightly relaxed modified ECQ, which allowed the reopening of shopping malls and select manufacturing and processing plants up to half of their full capacity on July 16.
On Aug. 1, Cebu City was downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ), which allowed the resumption of more businesses and public transportation.
Mayor Edgardo Labella, however, ordered the continued implementation of health protocols to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
“We don’t want to go back to ECQ and so I sincerely appeal to you to do your share so we will win this battle,” Labella said. “We need to act as one. Harmonization of the system is needed to fight the invisible enemy. No matter how good our system is, we won’t be successful if people do not cooperate,” he added.
As of Monday, Cebu City had recorded 9,094 cases of COVID-19. At least 2,764 of the cases were considered active, with 5,808 recoveries and 522 deaths, according to the DOH.
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